Authorities see a nearly 50 percent decrease in both human and animal rabies cases after vaccinating 210,000 dogs during the past year
BOSTON, April 5, 2011 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The World Society for the Protection of Animals (WSPA), along with the Bali Provincial Authorities and WSPA partner the Bali Animal Welfare Association (BAWA), is celebrating an important milestone in Bali's historic campaign to eradicate rabies. During the past year, teams of trained animal handlers vaccinated approximately 210,000 dogs – 70% of the estimated total dog population – in 4,126 villages across Bali, marking the completion of the first phase of the island's anti-rabies campaign.
"The first phase of the mass vaccination program showed a good result," said Ir. Putu Sumantra, the Head of the Bali Animal Husbandry Agency, speaking on behalf of the Bali government. "We are going to continue the mass vaccination program – being more effective and targeted in 2011, to ensure Bali will be free of rabies in 2012."
In looking at the period between Dec. 1, 2010 and Mar. 30, 2011, and comparing it to the same timeframe one year prior, there was a 45 percent decrease in the number of cases of rabies in dogs in Bali, as well as a 48 percent decrease in the number of human rabies cases.
"This is a real achievement in the fight against rabies in Bali, and one that proves that a humane approach to rabies control works to benefit both human health and animal welfare," said Ray Mitchell, Campaigns Director for WSPA. "The success of the campaign is, in no small part, due to the fact that it has received great support from the entire Balinese community – from top regency officials to village headmen to small family units."
International scientists and disease control experts, such as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), recommend mass vaccination of animals as the most effective means of controlling and eradicating rabies. This approach, which is core to Bali's program and also in line with animal welfare principles, creates a barrier to the disease and prevents it from spreading to other animals and humans.
The government's provincial and regency livestock departments have been leading Bali's mass vaccination program with operational support from the BAWA, Yudisthira Animal Welfare and Indonesian Animal Welfare (InAW). The first round of mass vaccinations was funded by WSPA, the Australian government and the International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW). The program is also supported by international organizations such as the World Health Organization (WHO) and the United Nations' Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO).
In parallel to conducting animal vaccinations, authorities and local groups are also running programs to educate the Balinese people about rabies.
"If the mass vaccination and other supporting program are continued in 2011 we will see a continued decline in human deaths," said Janice Girardi, director of BAWA. "But people must still remain vigilant, reporting each bite and seeking medical treatment after first washing the wound with soap and water."
About the World Society for the Protection of Animals (WSPA)
The World Society for the Protection of Animals (WSPA) is the world's largest alliance of animal welfare organizations, currently representing more than 1,000 member societies in more than 150 countries. WSPA strives to create a world where animal welfare matters and animal cruelty ends. WSPA brings about change at both grassroots and government levels to benefit animals, and has consultative status at the Council of Europe and the United Nations. For more information, visit our website, follow us on Twitter and "Like" our Facebook page.
SOURCE World Society for the Protection of Animals